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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 4/6/2010 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a DXA scan last week to check my bone density since I was on prednisone for a year. I finally got the results today. My density is very low for my age (22 yrs) but not quite osteoporosis yet. My dr wants me to start taking calcium with Vit D to see if that will help any. Anybody have any helpful hints on this or are dealing with it themselves?

At the current moment its just one thing after another. CD gets better, then worse, now possible RA and borderline Osteoporosis. I guess I'm lucky that I haven't landed in the hospital yet and bubble wrapped from the inside out. :)
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009.
Diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis December 2009.
Flaring since October 2008
Possible Rheumatoid Arthritis

Medication: Pentasa 6x daily, Imuran 50 mg, multivitamin, Vit B12 1 g, omeprazole. Sulfasalazine

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 4/6/2010 4:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't have any hints, but I just wanted to say I'm in the same boat. On pred for almost a year, had a DXA scan, have osteopenia. Now I'm on Vitamin D and Calcium too...hopefully with that and getting off pred soon I can reverse this!!
Stephanie, 28 years old
Diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis March 2000
Possible diagnosis of IBS-D
Total Proctocolectomy and Permanent Ileostomy 3/18/10!
Tried: Asacol, Remicade, 6mp, Humira, Xifaxan, Apriso, Imuran, Rowasa Enemas, Colocort Enemas, Psyllium Seed Powder... Tried Probiotics: Align (with no change except bloating) and VSL #3 DS (AWFUL diarrhea).
Currently on: 20mg Prednisone, Prenatal Vitamin, Vitamin B 12 Complex, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vesicare (for urinary retention). 

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 4/6/2010 5:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, my husband was just diagnosed with osteopenia as well. He also is on vitamin D and calcium. He's taking approximately 2000 mgs of calcium a day and 1500 IU of vitamin D a day. Calcium is best absorbed in divided doses (don't have any dose exceed 500 mgs). One of the best forms of calcium to take is calcium citrate. Vitamin D aids in calcium absoroption, so take vitamin D along with Calcium.

My husband's doc just decided to see how his bones are doing this time next year, before deciding if any more aggressive treatment is needed. Darn that pred, I'm sure my hubby has osteopenia from the high doses of pred he's been on. The hope is that he can stay off the pred and add some bone density.

Also, weight bearing exercise is key to building bone density. So, whatever exercise you can do to (like walking, etc - I'd talk to the physican about exercises that are appropriate), will help you gain bone density. I know, easier said that done, especially with RA. But I hope you can do some light exercise that will help both keep range of movement with RA, and add bone density.

It's rough, hang in there, hopefully you'll get everything under control soon, and your bones will pick up some density. If possible stay off the pred.

Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Crohn's in Remission since June 2008
C-diff recurrence Sep 2009
Reactive Arthritis Nov 2009
Currently c-diff free
Osteopenia of spine (Mar 2010)
Canasa (1gm), Lialda (4.8 gms), Remicade (8 weeks)
Currently In Remission

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1768
   Posted 4/6/2010 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm in the same boat as you as well. I had a DEXA a couple years ago and have osteopenia. I take calcuim every day and my dr prescribed vit D so I just have to take it once a month.

I have to have a repeat DEXA in a couple years to see what things look like. Unfortunately I have bad genes working against me and some of it's from that.

When I had the DEXA my reaction was just like yours....What next? I felt like it was just one thing after another. Luckily your doctor is watching out for you and you know about it now, and can try to prevent osteoporosis! Better to know now and just have to take calcuim and vitamin D than for it to have progressed further.

Good luck to you!

32 yr old female-dx with Crohn's in '97 after emergency resection and appendectomy, 2nd resection '05, Bilateral pulmonary emboli 10/09
Currently on Humira, Omeprazole, Effexor, Seroquel, Calcium, Vit D
Coumadin stopped 3/15/10!!!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1962
   Posted 4/9/2010 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I have osteoporosis from years of prednisone use. I advise you to take it seriously and to commit to taking your calcium and vit D. I buy the formula with calcium, Vit D and magnesium included as this helps with proper calcium absorption. (Magnesium may make your stools looser).
Also increase weight bearing excercises as it helps to build bone density. Conserving bone is like a savings account, what you put in now pays off in the future. Keep those bones strong.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 4/9/2010 6:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed really young too, but it was from compression fractures in my back. I tried the Actonel and Fosamax type drugs but I had reactions to those. So my Endocrinologist had me take prescription strength Vit D, 50,000 IU 1 X Week, Extra Calcium, and she put me on Birth Control Pills even though I had had my tubes tied. The hormones help me to absorb the calcium. Something must have worked because my levels improved. I'm 45 now and my levels are no longer improving, but they are stable. I'm not having compression fractures the way I used to, I do still worry about breaking my bones, but things are better. There are lots of drugs out there that can help you improve your bone density. But you need to see an Endocrinologist to get the most up to date treatment.

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 214
   Posted 4/9/2010 7:09 PM (GMT -7)   

Having being diagnosed with CD at 21 my input would be that if you are able to (not sure about your physical condition, how much excercise you can do) start an excercise program if you dont do so already. I did a lot of weight bearing excercise (not walking, but with weights in a gym) and still have "Normal" bone density after being on doses starting at 80mg/day. Once you have started to lose bone density, excercise is the only way you are going to truly get it back, and since you are still young you have probably a better oppurtunity then someone say double your age who physical might not be able to manage it anymore. If you can "hit the gym", as stated by others Vit D and Calcium are definitly essential/a necessity, as even for a normal healthy person, without the building blocks of bones you wont gain anything back.

In many aspects of CD i truly believe my gym life has done a lot for me in controlling my disease, whether it be staying strong or getting rid of the days stress, its seems to keep my CD in check, the only times i have been in flare since my first remission is when i have been out of the gym for more than a month, i strongly encourage those who can to get to the gym, to do so as often as their body lets them.
Current Meds: 250mg/day Imuran
Current Status: Mild Symptoms but under control

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 681
   Posted 4/10/2010 12:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Bar77 I don't understand prescribed vitamin d taken only once a month? Could you explain the rational? If your taking calcium every day then don't you need vit d every day or does the body store it until needed?
Male, 54 years old with Crohn's since 15 years old, diagnosed at age 46. Terminal ileum resected 2002. 5 months of remission. Crohn's has now been active since early 2003. Had a gall bladder removed Nov. of 2009. Currently on Remicade every 8 weeks, Nexium, Iron, B-12 injection every 4 weeks,5-asa Asacol, Morphine Sulfate as needed for pain. Cymbalta for long term pain control. 5-asa Salofalk, Entecort, Imuran and Prednisone in the past.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 214
   Posted 4/10/2010 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Vit D is stored in your body like other vitamins (if you dont get any vitamin C for a week you wont get scurvy) so the basis for the large monthly dose is it elevates your blood serum levels of Vit D from what i understand, and since it takes a while for those levels to drop you have a higher level of Vit D for the month.

From the way its explained i was always under the impresson that Vit D had to be taken at the same time as Calcium for proper absorption, but i guess as long as you have the Vit D IN YOU is all that matters for proper absorption. Calcium is different in the sense it would be really bad for your kidneys to take a month does of calcium in one sitting since your body cant "store" calcium, it has to absorb it while creating new bone.

Thats i guess how it seems to work i think, correct me if i am wrong.
Current Meds: 250mg/day Imuran
Current Vitamins: Multi-Vit, Calcium, Vit-D, Fish-Oils, Flaxseed Oil
Current Status: Mild Symptoms but under control
25 year old gym-rat/engineer

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 681
   Posted 4/12/2010 10:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks DarrylP this is all new to me.
Male, 54 years old with Crohn's since 15 years old, diagnosed at age 46. Terminal ileum resected 2002. 5 months of remission. Crohn's has now been active since early 2003. Had a gall bladder removed Nov. of 2009. Currently on Remicade every 8 weeks, Nexium, Iron, B-12 injection every 4 weeks,5-asa Asacol, Morphine Sulfate as needed for pain. Cymbalta for long term pain control. 5-asa Salofalk, Entecort, Imuran and Prednisone in the past.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 4/14/2010 9:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm in the same boat as you. I am 29 though.  I'm taking calcium, a high dose of Vit D, prescribed by my doc and just started on Fosamax.  It stinks to think we have to think about osteoporosis as such a young age.  I 'm just glad I have docs who are on the ball and thinking about all of my health and not just Crohn's.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 4/17/2010 7:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I have also recently learned that I have osteoporosis. The DEXA scan T-scores are -2.0 for my hip and -2.6 for my lumbar spine. I am also very young at 23, dx'd with Crohn's since 17. I recently switched doctors and the new doc ran a whole battery of tests for my nutritional status and also the bone scan. The interesting thing is that my vitamin D level came back in the normal-high range (62 ng/mL) and all other results were good. I have been referred to an endocrinologist for further investigation as they aren't sure why my bone density is so low. So I go to see another new doctor in a couple of weeks.
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